17 Jul 2015

Terrorism finances still key issue

3:32 pm on 17 July 2015

Officials from dozens of countries meeting in Auckland say combating the financing of terrorism remains a major challenge in the Asia-Pacific region.

Asia Pacific Group co-chair, and deputy secretary of policy from the Ministry of Justice Rajesh Chhana (right) and Asia Pacific Group executive secretary Gordon Hook.

Asia Pacific Group co-chair and deputy secretary of policy from the Ministry of Justice Rajesh Chhana (right) and Asia Pacific Group executive secretary Gordon Hook. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

A week-long annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering has wrapped up, involving more than 360 delegates from 41 countries and jurisdictions.

The meeting's co-chairperson, Rajesh Chhana from New Zealand's Ministry of Justice, said the rise of Islamic State was a big concern.

He said the group operated with billions of dollars and used social media in sophisticated ways to recruit and to use its funds.

Mr Chhana said its kidnappings and taking of hostages was an issue facing the world as a whole, and money going to Islamic State can come from any part of the globe.

Mr Chhana said as well as turning to Bitcoin, money launderers were also turning to something much older.

He said criminals were going back to tried and true methods such as gold which he said was coming back into vogue as a money-laundering method.

The meeting was held amid what organisers said was a backdrop of increased threats from international organised crime and terrorism.

It had a particular focus on implementing international standards against money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of weapons of mass destruction.

Opening the conference this week, Justice Minister Amy Adams said the rise of Islamic State showed the ways of funding terrorism were rapidly changing.

She said it was critically important to detect fund-raising and disrupt its cash-flows.

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